Making money management more manageable

How much time do you spend/waste/lose managing your personal finances? 

For me it seems to be becoming a ridiculous amount of time. I think I do quite a good job of it, balancing different accounts, paying all the bills on time, keeping track of the direct debits that are going out, coming up, saving for the big annual ones, like car and home insurance. My mum taught me to keep a record of what I spend and what I spend it on, and I still do that now, using a computer though rather than the little red cash book I started with. I have a fairly accurate picture of where all our money goes and I do use that info to try and make adjustments where I can.

One reason that money management got so much more complex and time consuming is due to all the different bank accounts you seem to need these days. The current account, the savings account, the ISA, the high(er) interest savings account, the credit card, the store cards, the regular savings account, the "mums allowance" account (in which I pay a little each week so that I can afford things like clothes and gym membership for myself without feeling guilty for taking from the family budget).  Then there's the business account, the paypal account, BB's savings account... On top of that, you just seem to get it sorted, and you find that the high interest account you just moved all your savings into is reverting to 0.1% at the end of the month! Grrr!

I am always juggling money, paying things into different accounts to cover the bills, to try and save, to maximise the little interest we can get. I pay everything the cheapest way that I can - a year upfront if its cheaper, by monthly direct debit when that's the most efficient option. I always pay off my credit card in full to avoid paying interest. I have alarms set on my phone to remind me on the first day of the month that I need to transfer money into the savings account (or else the interest rate goes down). Without a doubt I do it well, but whereas I used to enjoy it, now I resent all the time that it takes. I have better things to be doing with my life. 

Recently I was asked to take a look at the Santander 1|2|3 account. Apparently Santander recently ran a survey which found that 26 percent of households don't read their bills properly, and over a million households don't even open their bills at all. Obviously I am at the opposite extreme to that, but I decided I would take a look into it anyway. 

In summary, the account pays both cashback on your household bills and very competitive interest rates (3% if your balance is over £3000).  They have even created a simple calculator to help you see how much you could save. I entered in all my household bills and it comes up with a figure of £231 annually for me. 

I did a bit of research online to see what others were saying about this account. Martin Lewis compares it to the ISA and mumsnetters seem to be finding it quite good too. 

To my surprise, I found myself opening yet another account! 

But... the interest rate here is better than I am getting on any of my savings accounts, so if I move my savings, my income and my direct debits to here it can all be done in one place - that is by far the biggest attraction for me, getting cash back on your bills is just an added bonus. I will be keeping the mums allowance account of course, and my old current account will become a place where I pay myself a budgeted amount each week for other expenses like entertainment food and fuel so I can be sure I don't overspend. 

Then I can close all the other accounts, saving time and money - that has to be a good thing. Hopefully it will work out as good as it first seems. I'll be sure to let you know if it doesn't.

Disclaimer: This is a featured post with Santander. The story is however 100% true, I did really just open a new account as a result of these investigations and I do actually think it will save me time and money - and I promise to come back and tell you if that's not the case!

Hello, and thanks for stopping by. My name is Emma and I am a lifestyle entrepreneur, writer, teacher, coach and mentor. I am passionate about eating real food, learning, travel and health. I get to spend my days with my amazing son who has chosen to learn from the world rather than at school. We write to share the life we love and to help others create a life they love too.

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